Wellington Phoenix football is back home.
New Zealand’s only professional football club are hoping to draw the two biggest groups in the 2020/21 A-League season after confirming Phoenix’s highly anticipated return to Wellington next month.
Phoenix will host Western United at Sky Stadium in Wellington on May 22 and Perth Glory at Eden Park in Oakland on May 30 in their first real home game in over 400 days.
Phoenix forward Tomer Hamid took the penalty in the last second to beat Adelaide.
Matches will take place in the afternoon with the Wellington match starting at 4 p.m. and the Auckland match at 3:30 p.m.
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“This will be our first game in New Zealand in 14 months – 433 days since the last time we faced our true fans in this country,” said general manager David Doom.
“Our fans from Wellington, Auckland and all of New Zealand deserve to see their team play live this season.”
Dom has set a goal of attracting more than 15,000 fans to the two New Zealand matches, more than the 14,402 who attended the Sydney Derby between Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers in January.
He said the peak season presence would give Phoenix a much-needed financial boost after the costly exercise of moving to Australia for several months due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Phoenix hasn’t played for Wellington since March 15 last year.
“It was very expensive to move to Australia,” said Dom. “No club in the league has had to pay for the transfer.
“Of course we’re hoping that two of New Zealand’s big fans will bridge that gap a bit and maybe put some money in the treasury to buy more players for next year as well.
“The crowds in Wollongong, while they were doing well, did not bring us any money. Let’s be honest. “
To help the Phoenix attract an audience for its first home game in 433 days, Capital Football has postponed the afternoon soccer games to May 22 to allow local players to watch the game in Wellington.
Dom said Phoenix was unable to play Wellington on the weekend of May 29-30 because the Food Show was being held at Sky Stadium on the same dates, so they decided to move the game to Perth to Oakland. .
“There was a real desire to return to New Zealand as many matches as possible [as possible], Although the trip would be terrible.
“Three games in eight days is tough enough on its own, but three games where you have to cross Tasman in between is a big demand.
“We watched it but thought we were going to give it a try, it’s our best chance to give back to the fans in New Zealand. We can’t go to Wellington because of the Food Show so we contacted Eden Park, we were excited to play there.
“It was always a game in Wellington and a game in Oakland, or just a game in Wellington.”
Three wins in the last four games have put eighth-seeded Phoenix in search of sixth place.
They will face Brisbane Roar on Saturday at the Moreton Daily Stadium, the team directly above them at the A-League table.
In-form striker Reno Piscopo is preparing to leave the couch after receiving everything to come back.
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